“Suffering bears within it the living presence of God.” -Father James Steven Benrens, O.C.S.O.
It is not that we should accept suffering like doormats and relish the pain in a twisted false sense of humility. Humility dictates that we seek healing. But imagine that God is not just with us in our suffering, as if to be holding our hand. He is in our sufferings, transforming us through them. After all, God Himself “was made perfect through suffering.” (Hebrews 2:10b)
The world says suffering is pointless and that human worth, by becoming less able to “produce,” diminishes under its scourge. Our faith tells us that suffering, even when it cannot be alleviated, is not pointless. In fact, it has been transformed to have real purpose. So then life, whether it “produces” or not, has worth. We simply need to look beyond suffering’s obvious display to the process underneath.
“In receiving his cross we are not to look at what it is made of..…we are to look only at the interior virtue, not the exterior form. Eternal life is hidden under it.” -St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Sources: Fr. Benren,’s quote in Living Faith, Daily Catholic Devotions, Januray/February 2015. St. Elizabeth’s quote from Mrs. Seton: Foundress of the American Sisters of Charity by Fr. Joseph Dirvin. Painting by Frederiksborg Slotskirke, 1873 public domain.